Roger Gale Olstad

January 16, 1934 - October 11, 2023


Roger Olstad died peacefully in his sleep on October 11, 2023 as a result of complications from cardiovascular disease. He was 89 years old.


He was born on January 16, 1934 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Myra and Arnold Olstad where he lived for the first 29 years of his life. He attended the University of Minnesota where he met his wife, Constance (Connie) Jackson and earned Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees.


Roger and Connie visited Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair. Impressed with the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the temperate climate, they decided that Seattle was where they wanted to build their life together and raise their family. In 1964 Roger secured a position in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Science Education. Over the course of his professional career he taught and mentored thousands of students who went on to become science teachers, school administrators and university faculty members themselves.


In addition to his UW faculty appointment, he served as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, President of the National Science Teachers Association and on the board of the Pacific Science Center, amongst many other professional associations. He was appointed as the first Boeing Distinguished Professor of Education and was a member of the faculty until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1995.


Following his retirement, Roger was elected to two terms on the Lake Forest Park City Council and was later appointed to the Board of Trustees for Shoreline Community College. He and Connie enjoyed annual international trips as well as keeping in touch with friends and relatives across the country. In 2013 they moved to Aljoya Thornton Creek where Roger was active in various groups and served on its Resident Council.


Roger is remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather, an inspiring educator, accomplished gardener, dedicated public servant, loyal friend and avid Husky football fan. His wisdom and humor will be missed by all who knew and loved him.


He is survived by his wife Constance, daughter Karen (Will), granddaughters Katie, Brenna (Matt) and Marie and great-grandson Rhys. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara and son, Kenneth.


A private ceremony honoring Roger’s life and return to the earth was held at Recompose Seattle. The family suggests memorial gifts be made to the Pacific Science Center or Nature Conservancy.

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Recompose is a licensed, full-service, green funeral home in Seattle offering human composting. As the first human composting company in the world, we are a trusted leader in ecological death care. We are Seattle’s only human composting provider and serve clients across the U.S.

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